LOCK HAVEN — Two Clarion University wrestlers on different ends of the eligibility spectrum earned chances to compete for an NCAA championship on Saturday night as Brock Zacherl and Michael Pavasko won individual titles at the 2016 Eastern Wrestling League championships hosted by Lock Haven.
The two earned automatic bids to the NCAA Division I Championships hosted this year at Madison Square Garden on March 17-19.
Overall, the Golden Eagles had a strong showing at the EWL’s, taking fifth place with a team score of 41.5 points. In addition to Zacherl and Pavasko, two other Clarion grapplers had opportunities to earn trips to the NCAA Championships; Evan DeLong took third place at 165 pounds and Dustin Conti came in fourth at 197 pounds.
Zacherl and Pavasko are the 56th and 57th individual EWL champions in Golden Eagle history. They will be the first Clarion wrestlers to represent the Blue and Gold at the NCAA Championships since Justin Arthur and Austin Matthews in 2014.
Pavasko is the lone senior on the Golden Eagle squad and has dealt with the team’s struggles over the past several years, making his victory on Saturday an especially poignant one.
He breezed to an 8-3 decision over Bloomsburg’s Casey Glunt in his first round match but faced a much stiffer test in the semifinal. Pavasko overcame Lock Haven’s Tyler Wood by a 3-2 decision to advance to the finals, where he defeated Cleveland State’s Gabe Stark 7-3 to move on to the big dance.
On the other end of the spectrum, Zacherl, a freshman, improved his season record to 27-1 with a pair of victories at 141 pounds. He held a bye directly to the semifinal round where he claimed a 6-2 decision over George Mason’s Tejon Anthony.
Zacherl very nearly claimed a major decision in the finals, beating Cody Wheeler of Lock Haven by a 7-0 score to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his career.